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Shannon and the Clams New Vinyl Thursday

It’s Shannon and the Clams New Vinyl Thursday at The Vinyl Underground at 7th Heaven. Check out this week’s list of new vinyl arrivals:

Aaron Frazer- Introducing…

Aesop Rock- Appleseed

Anderson East- Maybe We Never Die

Barenaked Ladies- Detour De Force

Weekly Review:

Canadian rockers have developed a dedicated following in the 33 years since their first release, a moment winkingly acknowledged on their 20th album, Detour De Force. “After three decades, it’s still a good hang,” Ed Robertson rap/sings on “Good Life.”

The band plays perfectly to expectations on Detour De Force, which is a shame because the deeper one goes into the album, the more it becomes apparent that there is a perfectly good set of songs hidden behind all the zany joke songs the band feels compelled to deliver.

The back half of Detour De Force is filled with strong songwriting and touching performances. “The National Park” is a gentle folk song about the beauty of nature contrasted with landscapes of urban decay. This song is one of several written and sung by keyboard player Kevin Hearn. “Bylaw,” another Hearn song, is another standout.   

Unfortunately, these moments are buried under more than a half-dozen cuts that try way too hard. These songs are the musical equivalent of that friend who masks an internal pain by laughing way too loud and trying too hard to convince everyone they’re having a good time, right? Right? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Songs like lead single “Flip” will undoubtably play well when the band hits Starlight Theater next June, but for every moment like “Flip” that kind of works, there’s a “Roll On” or “Flat Earth” that produce more groans than grins. It’s enough to make one wish that “One Week” had never happened and BNL were allowed to embrace their inner artists instead of fixating on their inner children.- Joel Francis

Black Light Animals – Playboys of the Western World

Beach Bunny- Honeymoon

Belly- Bees

Bikini Kill- Revolution Girl Style Now

Bikini Kill- Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Weekly Review:

It’s interesting to think about the ways punk rock has changed and not changed since the early 90’s.
Named after a fanzine by lead singer Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill was an underground band hailing from Olympia, Washington. Hanna is considered to be a leading pioneer of riot grrrl, a DIY movement that centered around a core of strong feminist ideologies crossed with a punk rock aesthetic.
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah was originally released in 1992 as a split album on the label Kill Rock Stars with the British band Huggy Bear. In 1994 the Bikini Kill side was released on CD with their first self titled album under the title of First Two Records. In 2004 Yeah Yeah Yeah came out as a stand alone album, expanded with unreleased tracks recorded at live shows and at the band’s practice space.
The album is an explosive document of an important chapter in feminist, punk rock history. The philosophy behind anthems like Don’t Need You and Rebel Girl would come to be summarized as third-wave feminism. Grounded in the the civil rights advance of the second wave feminism of the 1960’s and 70’s, third wave would embrace individualism, self-reliance and their own brand of sex positivity. Bikini Kill lead singer, Kathleen Hanna, unapologetically claims to have worked as a stripper to pay for school.
The opening track, White Boy, is introduced by a short interview with a chauvinistic boy expressing a, sadly, not unpopular view of the time that sexism isn’t really a problem because “most of the girls ask for it” with the way they walk or act.
Hanna got her start performing spoken word at Evergreen State College in Olympia. The track: I Busted In Your Chevy Window gives us a little taste of Hannas strong confrontational style:
“If you would’ve known me
You would have called me by my real name
But you didn’t and you called me a bitch and
I busted in your Chevy window because you made me mad
I could not bust your weapon because it is your mouth
I could not bust your weapon because it’s a part of your fucking goddamn body
But I can bust materials, yes
I can bust a window, yes
I can bust a plate of glass that protects you so all the other girls can throw stones
I can bust in your Chevy window
Because you make me mad”
Perhaps no song better coveys the philosophy of riot grrl than the song Rebel Girl. BK would release three versions of the song, the one lofi version on YYYY being the first. The track has been covered countless times and used in a number Film as and TV Shows, most recently in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
It’s driving rhythm and unapologetic tone continues to inspire people of all genders and preferences to move to the front of punk shows and express their feminine energy and individuality:
That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood
I got news for you, she is!
They say she’s a dyke, but I know
She is my best friend, yeah
“Rebel girl, rebel girl
Rebel girl you are the queen of my world
Rebel girl, rebel girl
I know I wanna take you homeI wanna try on your clothes”
Here’s a good chance to get one from the band’s own label!
-Major Matt

Boygenius- Boygenius

Brian Jackson- Jazz is Dead 008

Weekly Review:

More than two years ago, back in February, 2019, producer Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the secret weapon in A Tribe Called Quest, gathered to record their first session in the Jazz is Dead series. Their collaborator that day was pianist Brian Jackson.

Jackson is best known for his decade of work with poet Gil Scott Heron, in the 1970s. His playing on Jazz is Dead 008 is so expressive and free, you wouldn’t guess this is just Jackson’s second album in 20 years. Jackson hops from various synthesizers to a Fender Rhodes and even plays flute across these eight songs. 

Opening cut “Under the Bridge” sounds like the soundtrack to a lost Blaxplotation film. “Mars Walk” and “Young Muhammad” are deeply funky tracks, thanks in no small part to Malachi Morehead’s drumming. “Nancy Wilson” is a tribute to the late jazz vocalist that finds Jackson on flute. Closer “Ethiopian Sunshower” adds Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms to the mix.

While Jackson’s was the first Jazz is Dead session recorded, it informed the aesthetic and sensibilities of the entire series. It also marks the final partnership showcased on the first Jazz is Dead release, a sampler. If this is indeed the final volume in the Jazz is Dead series, Younge and Shaheed Muhammad have picked strong collects to end with (not that there are any bad volumes in the series). Hopefully, more collaborations are forthcoming.- Joel Francis

Chrissie Hynde- Standing In The Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan

Deftones- Around the Fur

Deftones- Diamond Eyes

Weekly Review:

Deftones is one of those bands that people either really like… or really don’t. I think this is because of their experimentation, playing with rock, heavy rock, post hard-core, and gaze for one of the more unique sounds in the rock scene in their time. Fifteen years after their debut in the scene, Deftones released “Diamond Eyes” in 2010, keeping staple sounds, adding new variants to give them a fresh concept. In each album you can hear them evolving more and more, some songs leaning more “mainstream rock”, some becoming even more experimental- the epitome of Deftones. 

The first song introduces the album well, including most elements of what the following tracks will entail. There’s a bit of heavy guitar, gritty vocals, and clashing drums, leading to a softer yet more full chorus. One of my favorites on this album would have to be #3, “CMND/CTRL,” simply because of how I feel listening to it. To me, that’s one of the factors that will determine how I rate a song-how it makes me feel. Whether it be nostalgia, sadness, catharsis, empowered, or happy, Deftones hits every one of these on the head. 

“Sextape,” is one of the slower songs on the album but easily another favorite. I’m not sure what about it is so alluring to me, but it just reels me in and makes me feel at ease.  It gives the album variation and balance with a slower tempo and more emotion evoking vocal lines and ringing guitar lines. 

Overall this album is more than worth the listen- that is, if you like experimental rock. Again, most people will favor this band over any other, while others disagree with its sound entirely. If you like: Chevelle, Nine Inch Nails, and Slow Dive, I’m sure you’d enjoy this album. -Nova Stebbin.

Depeche Mode- Songs of Faith & Devotion

Depeche Mode- Ultra

Dexter Gordon Quartet- Something Different

Drive-By Truckers- Plan 9 Records July 13, 2006

Garbage- No Gods No Masters

Grant Green- Idle Moments

Harry Styles- Fine Line

Weekly Review:

Since he started as a solo artist, Harry Styles has found success finding his own sound after splitting from One Direction. With over 1 billion streams, track #2 off of Fine Line, “Watermelon Sugar,” broke charts and sky rocketed his career. Styles is not one to fear trying new things and standing out, as he is an icon in multiple realms. He’s always challenging new fashion trends, sexuality stereotypes, and most importantly new sounds in his music. 

Released in 2019, Harry’s sophomore album Fine Line showcases a change in maturity. You can tell he’s beginning to find himself more and more with this album as he grows into the persona he’s built for himself starting with his debut album. He strays from fitting into just one category with his music, which is something I admire; he always finds the most creative ways to convey how he’s feeling-raw and intimate sounding. The usage of indie, singer-songwriter, R&B, rock, and pop, makes for a beautiful clashing symphony. 

One of my favorites off this album would have to be track #3, “Adore You.” This song puts romance to rhythm and fire to passion with groovy gliding bass lines, electric guitar, and funky synths. Most love songs are either cliche or sad, but Styles puts his talent to work and makes for a fun, bouncy, catchy love song that leaves you reminiscing and excited, rather than sulking. 

Another song I really like off this album is, “To Be So Lonely,” for its message and the way it’s conveyed. I see this song as Harry struggling to recognize mistakes in a toxic relationship. He knows the sweet taste of when the relationship is harmonious but is simultaneously aware how unhealthy it is and would rather be painfully lonely than put himself back into that position. This song resonates with me as I’m sure it does many other listeners. Everyone wants to be loved, and it’s so extremely hard to distance yourself from something so alluring and comforting because you know it’ll only cause pain. I think the concept of this was executed perfectly with this song. 

Overall, I’d recommend this album to anyone who likes any of the previously listed genres. He did a wonderful job with incorporating various sounds to create something pleasant, unique, and memorable. Music should be a reflection of who you are as a person and this is something I think he does extremely well; he puts his heart and soul into what he does. -Nova Stebbin

Harry Styles- Harry Styles

Hazel English- Wake Up!

Hiroshi Suzuki- Cat

J. Cole- 2014 Forest Hills Drive

James McMurtry- The Horses and the Hounds

John Coltrane- Another Side Of John Coltrane

John Coltrane- My Favorite Things

John Hiatt- Leftover Feelings

John Mayer- Sob Rock

Judas Priest- British Steel

Jungle- Loving In Stereo

Kanye West- College Dropout

Kendrick Lamar- DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly

Kenny Burrell- Midnight Blue

Killing Joke- Pylon

Lorde- Solar Power

Lee Morgan – The Complete Live At The Lighthouse (Limited Edition, Boxed Set)

Mac Miller- Swimming

Michael Jackson- Thriller

Mr. Bungle- California

Mudhoney- Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

My Bloody Valentine- M B V

My Chemical Romance- Life On The Murder Scene

Neighb’rhood Childr’n- The Neighb’rhood Childr’n

Nick Drake- Pink Moon

Nico – Drama of Exile

Weekly Review:

The life of singer, songwriter, musician, model, and actress Christa Päffgen, aka Nico, has more twists and turns than Chubby Checker in a blender.
Born in Cologne, Germany she got her start as a model at the age of 16 and eventually moved to New York City where she took acting lessons and appeared in a number of films including the art films of Andy Warhol.
She soon became a staple around the downtown New York Art Rock scene of the late 60’s where she rubbed elbows with iconic musicians such as Brian Jones, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison.
I discovered Nico from the first Velvet Underground album. Producer and band manager Andy Warhol insisted that she sing on four songs. Her deep monotone style would help to define future music genres including post punk and goth.
I’ll admit that Nico’s look was a large part of what initially attracted me to her but I consider he first solo album Chelsea Girl to be one of the most beautiful albums of all time. Songwriting credits include Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and John Cake at the top their games. The transportive string and flute arrangements by producer Tom Wilson place the songs on a timeless bed of melancholy and Nico’s vocal delivery serves as the perfect reflective vessel for songs about walking in the park alone and past mistakes.
Drama of Exile is a very different album from Chelsea Girl. I’m not gonna say better and I’m not gonna say worse… different. Exile is Nico’s fifth solo album and it was released in 1982, fifteen years after Chelsea Girl. Here she taps into a much darker side.
At the time Nico’s previous album The End…, literally ended her record contract with Island and was touring non stop to support what is rumored to be an enormous heroine addiction.
She was offered a deal by Aura records and was set to record in London studio in may of 1981 with a pretty impressive array of musicians including Ian Dury’s sax player Dave Payne and keyboardist Andy Clark who had just finished work on Bowie’s Scary Monsters, which is actually an apt place to start, sonically speaking, for Drama Of Exile.
Nico would refer to the album as being inspired by “Middle Eastern, Arabic, or Moorish” music.  Aside from her rich vocal deliver, the excellent guitar work of Muhammad Hadi (Mad Sheer Khan) bridges the dark eastern influences of this album with a more modern new wave, post punk sound that comes across in the tracks Genghis Khan and The Sphinx.
Her cover of Lou Reed’s homage to drug dealers, I’m Waiting For My Man, is hauntingly appropriate and the final track, a cover of David Bowie’s Heroes is another heartbreaking irony consider her battles with addiction.
Sadly she would complete just one more record before passing due to a bicycle accident. Though her life was filled with many tangles and mysteries, the music of Nico endures and this record is a prime example.
– Major Matt

Nirvana- Bleach

Nirvana- In Utero

Olivia Rodrigo- Sour

Pearl Jam- No Code

Weekly Review:

When the Seattle grunge stalwart’s fourth album, No Code, dropped late in the summer of 1996, it seemed to be a test of fans’ loyalty. Sure, you may watch the old music videos (since new ones weren’t being produced), wore the t-shirt and sang along to the radio hits. But could you embrace the world music flavor of “Who You Are” and spoken word components of “I’m Open”? What about letting guitarist Stone Gossard handle lead vocals for “Mankind”?

No Code contained all of these conundrums, in addition to a song about a hospital stay caused by food poisoning (“Red Mosquito”), a lullaby (“Around the Bend”) and a frantic, 62-second tribute to Mudhoney bass player Matt Lukin that is really about a stalker (“Lukin”).

Dotted among the detours are several choice cuts of red meat. “Hail Hail” is as fine a slab of rock as the band ever released. “Smile” recalls PJ’s work with Neil Young on Mirrorball, a high point for all artists. “Off He Goes” continues the band’s streak of strong, heartfelt ballads. 

Because of its eclectic and experimental nature, No Code doesn’t sound as of-its-time as PJ’s other ‘90s releases. The 13 songs here are the sound of a successful band throwing off the shackles and determining who really wants to come along for the ride. It isn’t as immediate as the band’s previous releases, but just as rewarding for those with patience.- Joel Francis

Pixies- Wave of Mutilation: The Best of Pixies

Prophets of Rage- Prophets Of Rage

Rage Against the Machine- Evil Empire

Rage Against the Machine- Rage Against The Machine XX [20th Anniversary]

SZA- Control

Shannon and the Clams- Year Of The Spider

Slum Village- Fan-Tas-Tic 1

Son Volt- Electro Melodier

Weekly Review:

With his working-class approach and musical debt to Woody Guthrie, Son Volt songwriter and frontman Jay Farrar’s politics were never hard to infer. Farrar didn’t make the connection explicit – or necessary – until the band’s 2019 release, Union. There, Farrar made clear his distaste for the current U.S. presidential administration and its polarizing effect on the country. 

Electro Melodier continues this motif and while Farrar doesn’t have any trouble letting the listener know exactly where he stands and why, it also feels like he’s holding back some of the emotional heft that would have helped drive his points even further.

Farrar has no trouble conjuring the weary everyman and his lyrics inhabit this space well. “Where is the empathy? Where’s the soul?” he sings on “Living in the U.S.A.” “Guardians not grifters,” he calls in the next song, “Someday is Now.” “United for another day.”

The album works best when unexpected elements jump into play. Laura Cantrell’s backing vocals on “Diamonds and Cigarettes” work so well I wonder why they haven’t been used more often. Mark Spencer’s piano on “Like You” gives the song a Laurel Canyon vibe.

These elements stand out because similar arrangements built around acoustic and lap steel guitars start to make the songs blend together after a while. An over-reliance on mid-tempo pacing also hurts otherwise strong songwriting. It’s been a while since Farrar gave fans a good barn-burner. Dropping one in the middle of this playlist would give the set a much-needed burst of energy.

More than three decades into his celebrated career, Farrar isn’t looking to alter anyone’s expectations. That he can continue to turn out music this good is why so many dedicated fans have stuck with him so long.- Joel Francis

Stanley Turrentine- Look Out

Sturgill Simpson- Sound & Fury

Sun Ra- Outer Spaceways Incorporated

Sun Ra- Pathways To Unknown Worlds

Tame Impala- Innerspeaker

Taylor Swift- Speak Now

The Beatles- Abbey Road Anniversary

The Beatles- Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Clash- Combat Rock

The Grateful Dead- Grateful Dead

Weekly Review:

Even in their early days, the Grateful Dead championed their concert experience. The self-titled album affectionately known as Skull and Roses arrived nearly two years after their first live album. While 1969’s Live/Dead was designed to showcase the Dead concert experience, 1971’s Skull and Roses shows off new material and covers. The songs are also shorter, with only one track consuming an entire album side.

Although compiled from different concerts (and featuring several very obvious overdubs), Skull and Roses plays like a complete show. New song “Bertha” is a great opener. The choogling rhythm practically drags the listener onstage. An 18-minute version “The Other One” showcases the group’s legendary improvisation skills and consumes all of side two. A medley of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and the folk standard “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” ends the collection on a high point.

Scattered between these peaks are songs by Merle Haggard, Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin and Jimmy Reed. These numbers, along with stellar originals “Playing in the Band” and “Wharf Rat,” display the Dead’s versatility as musicians and diverse influences.

A top-selling album when it was released, Skull and Roses remains highly recommended to fans who want to experience the Dead’s early ‘70s sound without sifting through armloads of complete concert recordings. – Joel Francis

As much as I hate oversimplifications sometimes I feel like there are two kinds of people: Those that discovered the Grateful Dead in college and those that didn’t. Though, I would place myself in the second category, many years later, after hearing the song Box Of Rain, I would find myself saved on many occasions by the studio album American Beauty and later Working Man’s Dead.  Both of these records were released in 1970.
Whether it’s because I don’t like live albums in general, or that I’m not the biggest fan of “hippie” culture, the whole “Live Dead” experience was never extremely attractive to me, especially in my teens and twenties. I leaned a little more to the sweaty basement/ combat boot set. But we all evolve or devolve however you wanna put it and I’m happy to say I now consider myself a fan.
I have always admired The Dead’s free, open source/ pre Napster/ Spotify live show recording policy. To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of its release,  they’ve just put out a remastered version of their 1971 untitled second live album (commonly know as the Skull & Roses record) on 180 gram vinyl.
Unlike most live albums, which are often just an easy way to repackage and sell previously recorded material, S&R includes three original tracks as well as some iconic cover jams of Me and Bobby McGee and Buddy Holly’s: Not Fade Away.
The album’s halfway point is drummer Bill Kreutsman’s iconic percussive odyssey: The Other One, clocking in at eighteen minutes and five seconds.
A stand out track for me is the original Garcia track: Warf Rat.
“Old man down
Way down, down, down by the docks of the city
Blind and dirty
Asked me for a dime, a dime for a cup of coffee
I got no dime but I got some time to hear his story”
In Deadhead culture the term “Warf Rat” would come to mean a follower of the Dead who abstained from drugs and alcohol but would serve to help other concert attendees with substance abuse problems.
My favorite discovery while researching this album is that the original title submitted for the record was “Skull Fuck,” which was promptly rejected. No new title was ever submitted so the label just decided on the bands name.
If you’re a fan of the studio albums, like me originally, this is a great introduction to the vast world of the Dead’s live recordings. And if you’re already into the live stuff this remastered version of their first Gold Record sounds prettyy sweet on vinyl.
– Major Matt

The Killers- Pressure Machine

The Traveling Wilburys- The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1

Tori Amos- Under The Pink (2LP)

Weekly Review:

Songwriting goddess Tori Amos’ second album is often unfairly overlooked in her discography, viewed as a stepping stone from her almost perfect debut to the cathartic and challenging third record. Those who discount Under the Pink only shortchange themselves, as it contains some of Amos’ best songs and performances.

Under the Pink’s best-known songs are “God” and “Cornflake Girl.” The edgy production – and lyrics – on these singles helped Amos stand out from what would become the Lilith Fair crowd and kept her from falling into the Adult Alternative crevasse that swallowed up many of her lesser contemporaries.

As good as those songs are, they’re not the best moments on Under the Pink. The first of these is “Past the Mission,” a song about sexual abuse that joins a deceptively upbeat verse with a haunting chorus (and features Trent Reznor on backing vocals). The second is “Baker Baker,” a moving culinary metaphor about lost love.

While there are a minor couple missteps, Under the Pink stands as a testament to Amos continued artistry and should be part of any singer/songwriter collection.- Joel Francis

Tyler The Creator- Flower Boy

Type O Negative- Slow Deep And Hard (30th Anniversary Edition)

Van Halen- 1984

Various Artists – Almost Famous Original Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition, Boxed Set, Anniversary Edition)

Various Artists- Goodfellas (Music From The Motion Picture)

Weezer- Weezer (Blue Album)

 

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

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We hope to see you there.

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Sherman, Gordon, Cat, Matt, Dylan, Doyle, Heather, Dave and Max

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